MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There is a new titleholder for “Lightning Capital” of the United States, or perhaps a new contender.

For years, it has been Florida. But now Oklahoma is challenging the Sunshine State, following new data collected by an environmental technology company called Vaisala.

The company tracks the lightning strikes across the U.S. and globally, using its lightning detection network systems. The data includes both in-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning analysis that is taken 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

From the years 2016 to 2020, the company’s data recorded 83.4 lightning events per square kilometer in the state of Oklahoma. The company listed Oklahoma above Florida for the highest amount of lightning in a square kilometer in the past five years. However, the Sunshine State was not far behind with 82.8 lightning events per square kilometer.

Meteorologists from Vaisala say that Florida’s long-running title as the U.S. lightning capital came from a time when only cloud-to-ground lightning can be detected and recorded. Now that there are detection systems that can also include the recording of in-cloud lightning, there are going to be several other states trying to beat out Florida, or better said Oklahoma.

Louisiana had 71.9 lightning events per square kilometer in that same five-year range, placing the southern state as third on that list. Then comes Texas in fourth followed by Arkansas, whose data numbers are very close to Texas’ lightning strike numbers.

While Oklahoma beat Florida for the most lightning strikes statewide, the Sunshine State still outshines the Sooner State for having smaller-scale areas that get hit by the most lightning strikes. These locations include the areas between Tampa, Orlando and the Space Coast.

While these spots are usually known as Central Florida, they also hold the nickname “lightning alley.” The reason for its nickname is because of the sea-breeze collision that helps to fire up thunderstorms every afternoon during the summer months. Most of the time the sea-breezes from the west and the east collide right over Central Florida.

This is a perfect time to remind you that if you’re outside and you hear thunder, go indoors immediately.

Jennifer Correa